ode to snot rockets

Snot rockets, or farmers blows, or whatever the heck you want to call them, are an active person’s best friend. Eventually, if you bike or run or what-have-you for long enough, you will become a pro at this convenient (and eco-friendly: no tissue required!:) way to get rid of excess phlegm: plug one nostril, blow really hard through the other, and voila! No more sniffles.

Sure, sometimes you end up with a little bit of excess snot dangle, but that can easily be dispatched of with your glove. Or sleeve. Whatevs. The point is, a snot rocket is a great way to clear out your head mid-ride. Just be mindful of where it lands.


If you’re like me, though, there will eventually come a day where you experience the worst of all possible snot rockets: the blow that shoots blood. I don’t know if I’m just particularly prone to nosebleeds or what, but every so often, I’ll try to clear my head and end up spewing blood all over myself.

This is what happened yesterday on the way to work. And while sometimes I can just plug my nose for a bit and it stops, this was like the Niagara Falls of bloody noses. I pulled over and awkwardly attempted to keep my nose pinched off with one hand while I pawed through my backpack looking for some blood-stopping device with the other. Sadly, nothing. I resigned myself to bloody, disgusting gloves and sat down to wait it out.

Enter friendly person #1. I’d pulled over into a parking lot, apparently, and this dude had just come out to his parked car. When he saw me sitting there, he walked over to ask if I was okay.

“Yeah, no problem,” I said, hoping I didn’t look like someone had stabbed me. “Just a bloody nose.”

Then ka-BAM! He whipped out a whole fistful of napkins that he’d already grabbed from his car. “Yeah, that’s what it looked like,” he said. “It happens to me too.” And he proceeded to give me the napkins, get back in his car, and drive away.

Sweet! I tried to mop up my spewing nose using some napkins instead of my gloves–definitely an improvement in technique. Then, enter friendly person #2: the parking lot attendant.

“Are you okay?” he asked me after a hesitant walk over from his booth.

“Yeah, no problem,” I said again. “Thanks.” He looked a little concerned but smiled nonetheless. He moved off to give me some space, but positioned himself where he could still see me, as though to make sure I wasn’t going to keel over and die in his parking lot. I tried to appear calm and definitely not on the verge of death, just to make him feel better.

Eventually my nose stopped bleeding. I was able to clean off my face with my waterbottle, stuff the bloody napkins into my backpack for later disposal, and get back on the road. As I took off, the parking attendant waved at me. “Have a good day!” he called.

And you know what? It was a good day. Despite the epic snot rocket failure, I still had the rest of a lovely ride in front of me, and behind me the help of two good samaritans. Thanks for taking care of me, Portland! :)


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